Lawrie has weight off his mind

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The Independent Online
Golf

Scotland's Paul Lawrie, whose career slumped last year after he became a fitness fanatic and lost four stones, won the Catalan Open at Bonmont in Spain yesterday - his first European tour title.

The 27-year-old from Aberdeen lifted the title without hitting a ball on the final day. Because of high winds, the tournament was halved to 36 holes and Lawrie, who scored his nine under par total of 135 on Saturday afternoon, had to wait over 18 hours to see if anyone could beat it.

David Howell, playing only his sixth professional event, resumed yesterday morning needing three birdies in nine holes to force a play-off. But the 20-year-old took three putts on the 10th from only eight feet and eventually finished joint eighth.

With nobody else able to mount a sustained challenge, Lawrie, who feared a double bogey five at his penultimate hole might cost him dearly, was left a one-stroke winner over his playing partner Fernando Roca.

The trophy and pounds 50,000 cheque enabled the former European Under-25 champion, who had rounds of 65 and 70, to put the memory of last year's drop to 107th in the Order of Merit firmly behind him.

"Two winters ago I didn't think I was fit enough, so I started working out," he said. "I enjoyed it, but I went over the top and couldn't stop. My weight came down from 151/2 stones to 111/2 and although my wife liked me thinner I was like a skeleton and people told me I looked ill.

"Now I'm back up to nearly 14 stones and I feel strong. If this event had been over four rounds I would still have won - no doubt about it. I felt that confident."

CATALAN OPEN (Bonmont , Sp) Leading final scores (cut to 36 holes because of high winds) (GB or Ire unless stated): 135 P Lawrie 65 70. 136 F Roca (Sp) 66 70. 137 D Hospital (Sp) 66 71. 138 A Sherborne 67 71; E Bolognesi (It) 71 67. 139 J Coceres (Arg) 67 72; J C Pinero (Sp) 68 71. 140 D Howell 66 74; C Suneson 74 66. 141 M A Martin (Sp) 71 70; R Green 73 68; S McAllister 72 69; J Rivero (Sp) 69 72; E Romero (Arg) 71 70. 142 M Pinero (Sp) 71 71; A Forsbrand (Swe) 74 68; P Linhart (Sp) 72 70; R Muntz (Neth) 72 70; P Baker 70 72; D A Russell 72 70; P McGinley 72 70; E Giraud (Fr) 72 70.

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